Google this week published an interesting blog post which instructed app developers how to disable a major security setting in Apple’s upcoming new iOS 9 operating system so Google could send ads.
OS 9 is Apple’s new software update for iPhones and iPads. Apple showed it off at its big developer’s conference in June and we’re expecting Apple to to tell us when it will be released on September 9, its next major event where the newest crop of iPhones and devices should be revealed.
Meanwhile, Apple has been releasing documentation on iOS 9 to developers, so they can have their apps ready for it when it launches. This includes information on a security feature called App Transport Security (ATS). ATS requires data to come to iOS 9 devices through a secure “https” encryption setting. That setting means that hackers can’t snoop on your data as it crosses the internet, and it’s been a standard for PC Web browsers for eons.
Apple has turned on ATS in iOS 9 by default. Google admits this is generally a good thing, except for one problem, this would also block some ads being served by Google. Writes Google (emphasis ours):
While Google remains committed to industry-wide adoption of HTTPS, there isn’t always full compliance on third party ad networks and custom creative code served via our systems. To ensure ads continue to serve on iOS9 devices for developers transitioning to HTTPS, the recommended short term fix is to add an exception that allows HTTP requests to succeed and non-secure content to load successfully.
Google later clarified that it is only advocating that developers turn off this security feature if they have tried other methods first.
As Cult of Mac points out, this isn’t the first time Google has resorted to hack to make sure its ads run on Apple devices. In 2012 it was fined $US22 million for hacking Safari to disable default privacy settings so Google could serve ads.
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